The Eagles were forced to turn to wide receiver Greg Ward because they ran out of other options last season and they saw enough from him to go into this season with heightened expectations for his role in the offense.
Ward caught 28 passes for 254 yards and a touchdown in seven games for an injury-ravaged offense late last season and head coach Doug Pederson was asked on Wednesday if that’s earned him a spot in this year’s corps. Pederson said it did and noted that he and quarterback Carson Wentz have established a good rapport.
“The one thing now as he goes into this season, he’s in that rotation, in that starting mix for us,” Pederson said. “It’s just a matter of him embracing every day, getting better. Being a former quarterback, he understands our offense. Being in our offense, he knows the concepts and the routes. He and Carson have a really good feel for one another. I think for him now it’s just a matter of continuing to get better each and every day and putting in the work. We expect some really big things from Greg. He can also be a leader. He can be a leader of that group. Him and DeSean Jackson, Alshon Jeffery, these guys, they can be leaders now and mentors to these young players.”
Pederson’s answer might be different if Jeffery were healthy at the moment or if Marquise Goodwin had not opted out of playing this season, but those things are true and three other receivers were drafted this April. All of that leaves Ward in position to make an impact for the Eagles this season.